Collecting the Here and Now

As I mentioned in a blog post a few weeks back about a Superman comic book, the Nebraska State Historical Society collects and cares for hundreds of thousands of items not all of which are particularly old.  We feel it is important to collect items now that will allow us to examine important issues in our state that will have long-reaching impact.  One important debate being played out in Nebraska today has been the potential placement of Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline across our state and the Ogallala aquifer. 

Because of the organized movements both for and against this project—we’ve been able to collect quite a bit of material from both sides of the issue.   A few are featured in this blog.

The items we’re collecting now about this topic will allow discussion in the future about the impact this debate has had on our state, how Nebraska fit into the larger national issues relating to energy dependence/independence and the use of fossil fuels, as well as other topics like grassroots movements, political lobbying, and more.

We are fortunate that there are tangible pieces that we can collect relating to the Pipeline project.  There are other issues that are a little bit harder to get “pieces” of—like the decline of rural populations.  What exactly would we collect, that would fit into a museum or archives building, to document this?  It’s a challenge we continually struggle with.

What current topics in Nebraska today do YOU think we should be collecting?  I’d love to hear.

–Deb Arenz, Associate Director for Collections

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About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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